A dark dawn. As light grows, the rain falls harder, thundering on the porch roof, drowning out all other sounds but a locomotive’s wail.
Soggy woods under a gray sky. In the multiflora rose bush, a junco’s tail keeps flashing white as it struggles for a perch among the thorns.
Cold with a heavy inversion layer. While traffic roars over the ridge to the west, the sun clears the eastern ridge, a silent howl of light.
A pair of Carolina wrens—one in the lilac, the other in the dead cherry—flit from branch to branch, tasting the new-fallen snow.
Christmas Bird Count day. I strain to hear something more exotic than crows and sparrows. A distant siren turns into a screech owl’s wail.
A small mound of dirt has appeared in front of the porch. The sky’s a mottled gray, and I try to guess which bright spot hides the sun.
Two pileated woodpeckers cackle back and forth. Patches of moss at the woods’ edge seem to glow in the dim light. The smell of rain.
White above, gray below—the reverse of the juncos foraging in the ditch among sedges, tear-thumb and asters, calling in small hard notes.
Sun through a skim of clouds. A nuthatch and a downy woodpecker trade anxious, nasal notes between the faint shadows of the trees.
Gurgle of the stream in my left ear, titmice in my right. The crunch of gravel as my dad’s Honda pulls up, silvery blue as new ice.